IN THIS CHAPTER
Surveying the YouTube landscape
Your channel-planning blueprint must include a clear understanding of the com- munity you’re aiming to reach. Ask yourself these questions:
» Who are the infl and thought leaders? Discover spokespeople who share your passion to determine their tone, style, and content approach.
Determine how they engage with their fan base and with whom they collaborate.
» Which channels are popular? Use YouTube Search to determine which
channels are the most popular with the subject matter planned for your own channel. Enter keywords into the search bar to discover popular channels and videos. Look at the number of subscribers, views, likes, and comments. Find out why these channels resonate by looking at style, branding, publishing, scheduling, collaboration level, and personality. See how the channels organize videos and playlists, repurpose content, and promote new videos.
» How engaged is the community? You need to gauge how viewers are
reacting to the content they watch. Determine what normal levels of likes/ dislikes and comments are for your target audience. Identify the vocal members of the community and capture their constructive criticism and content recommendations. Comments are a great source for telegraphing audience needs.
» Is my idea diff enough? Figure out whether there are gaps in the content being produced. Assess whether your approach covers some of the
fan base content recommendations now unfulfi by existing channels.
The YouTube community is quite collaborative, especially among better channels and viewers. If you’re in a competitive market, your audience will provide a com- petitive advantage by promoting your channel and making content recommenda- tions. If you have a product or service, don’t be surprised if your audience gives you feedback on that as well.
With more than 500 hours of video now being uploaded to YouTube every minute, you’ll realize that you have to search through, watch, and analyze a good deal of
content so that you can determine whether your YouTube strategy is sound. You- Tube is the second-largest search engine in the world, so take a reasoned and dis- ciplined approach to determine where you fit — or where your organization fits.
We recommend visiting comparable channels, watching their videos, and then exploring the video recommendations to determine whether your channel will be unique enough to build a following. You can use YouTube Search to track down the competition, or you can try some nifty tools that we describe below.
YouTube provides some valuable options to discover content that is important to your target audience or relevant to your discovery. Working directly from the You- Tube search bar can be helpful: Whenever you begin typing a search query into YouTube, you see a list of possible search results displayed — these are the high- volume searches that YouTube feels may be relevant to your current query.
YouTube’s basic search feature is a good tool to use if you want to gauge whether you’re creating content that is in high demand. Using the advanced search filters, however, is much more efficient if what you want to do is find specific channels and videos. Figure 5-2 shows an advanced search filter query for the term monster trucks. (Turns out that a search for monster trucks yields nearly 1.2 million relevant videos — who knew?)
Mobile YouTube viewing and mobile search must be significant parts of your channel strategy. Understand that not all mobile apps have complete functional- ity, including the advanced search filters referenced.
Be sure to look at the recommended videos under the home page of YouTube we describe in Chapter 2. Your previous viewing and search patterns influence what shows up in your recommendations, so you may see a blend of content from different searches, both professional and personal.
Just as independent software tools, such as Adobe Creative Suite and Apple Final Cut, are important to the video production process, independent tools, including Pixability, (www.pixability.com), TubeBuddy (www.tubebuddy.com), and VidIQ (www.vidiq.com), are quite valuable to the channel discovery process on YouTube. These third-party products often combine YouTube data with information from social media sources in order to offer a more granular analysis of important chan- nels, more detailed demographic information about your targeted fan base, and a closer look at what your audience watches and shares. Figure 5-3 shows the criti- cal channels around a specific topic base.
Important YouTube channel identification using Pixability.